How To Deal With Difficult Coworkers

Every one of the employees at your company adds something to the firm’s shared success. In most organizations there are diverse personalities, some of whom you may not get along with. In short, you find some people difficult. That does not make you (or them) a bad person. Rather, it means that you are part of a diverse company culture. Nevertheless, juggling the demands of challenging employees can be exhausting. So give yourself a break and try out these adjustments to your behaviour that have been shown to ease the stresses of managing difficult people in the workplace

There is not one right answer

Of course, we expect employees and workplaces to be governed by rational, even-handed rules. Still, personality clashes are not uncommon and difficulties will arise at work from time-to-time. However, if you carefully manage your responses to these situations, they rarely require third-party involvement. Deepak Chopra believes there are seven varieties of difficult employees, each of which requires a certain pair of kid gloves to handle them.

But there is one common theme

In every difficult workplace interaction, no matter what the variables, you are free to control one thing: your response to the situation. You can choose not to gossip about the person you find frustrating. You can choose to appreciate that this difficult person may be enduring a rough patch. This does not mean that you have to be a doormat when it comes to aggressive people, or a counselor to a person who incessantly plays the victim. It means that you are willing to pause before reacting to difficult behaviour.

And one thing to watch out for

Of course, if worrisome behaviour is hurting someone emotionally or preventing you from doing your job, follow the procedures of your company to deal with conflict. In cases where a difficult behaviours are not excessive but they seriously irk you, bear in mind that Chopra names ‘Controllers’ as one type of difficult person, commenting that “their capacity to criticize others is endless.” So, when dealing with difficult people, ask yourself, are you concentrating too much on them? If you find that you dwell on other people’s behaviours more than your own, you may be exhibiting the telltale signs of a difficult person.

Be encouraged

As you learn to adapt to difficult people, you will enjoy the workplace more, even if they don’t. And by handling difficult people, not with controlling tendencies, but with diplomacy and tact, you will soon become a more mature and effective professional.